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Author Topic: Appleline likely a modified DCA IRMAprint?  (Read 335 times)

conmega

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Appleline likely a modified DCA IRMAprint?
« on: May 18, 2021, 09:22:11 am »

Hi all,
As I have recently got a few Lisas, digging around and learning about it and requisite hardware I quickly learned about the Appleline and Cluster controller.
As one of my primary focuses in the hobby is IBM hardware midrange and mainframe it quickly caught my interest. Unfortunately it seems they are quite uncommon to find floating around nowadays.
After looking at photos of it I couldn't help but notice it looked very familiar.
It looks almost exactly like a DCA IRMAprint.
It even has a very similar port layout, same switch position and same 24VAC input voltage.
The most common IRMAprint you can find is parallel, they did make a serial variant too though, which I suspect to be the version they modified for the Appleline.
I am wondering if it would be possible to convert a DCA IRMAprint into an Appleline but I'd need good photos inside of an Appleline, front and back of the board preferably, and rom dumps to confirm this.
Does anyone here have an Appleline and could do this? There is very little info about the Appleline online from what digging I have done. There is the one manual and a few photos but that's about it from what I've found.

Thanks!
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stepleton

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Re: Appleline likely a modified DCA IRMAprint?
« Reply #1 on: May 18, 2021, 08:41:48 pm »

Paging @compu85, @compu85 to the white courtesy phone please :) (cf.)

I had never heard of this thing! I was familiar with the Cluster Controller at least, which I'd also heard was a rebadged part.
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compu_85

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Re: Appleline likely a modified DCA IRMAprint?
« Reply #2 on: May 18, 2021, 11:27:39 pm »

Hehe, I had thought about buying those IRMA units a few years ago and didn't. The serial one is identical to the AppleLine, except for the case (going by the photos anyway).

Attached is the firmware from my unit.

And some pictures (annoyingly, no internal photos): https://picasaweb.google.com/113574813556450463594/Apple3270AppleLine
« Last Edit: May 18, 2021, 11:29:16 pm by compu_85 »
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Al Kossow

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Re: Appleline likely a modified DCA IRMAprint?
« Reply #3 on: May 19, 2021, 07:13:51 am »

THANK YOU!

I've been trying to find someone willing to dump the AppleLine firmware for a while now since I've been unable to find one!
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conmega

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Re: Appleline likely a modified DCA IRMAprint?
« Reply #4 on: May 19, 2021, 07:28:51 am »

THANK YOU!

I've been trying to find someone willing to dump the AppleLine firmware for a while now since I've been unable to find one!

Al,
Do you have dumps of the firmware from the IRMAprint units as-well? I just ordered a Serial and Parallel unit which I plan to dump for comparison. I will post those here if your looking for them.
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Al Kossow

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Re: Appleline likely a modified DCA IRMAprint?
« Reply #5 on: May 19, 2021, 07:52:50 pm »

I assume the third in https://www.ebay.com/itm/262721065197 was parallel?

I need to look to see what models I have. I haven't looked at them in a while.
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conmega

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Re: Appleline likely a modified DCA IRMAprint?
« Reply #6 on: May 20, 2021, 08:33:58 am »

I assume the third in https://www.ebay.com/itm/262721065197 was parallel?

I had made an offer (just to get a message through) of $24 a pop for two asking for a serial and a parallel. I have no idea if the person who bought one first got a parallel or serial. So I am not sure what he has left. If your looking for a serial I'd message him and ask.

The serial units seem more uncommon than the parallel units. Thus why when I saw the posting mentioning a serial unit I...
A) Jumped on it.
B) Hadn't actually realized there was a serial unit and when I saw there was I was instantly reminded of my suspicions that the Appleline is just an IRMAprint.
C) Struck up the discussion here.

I otherwise kinda kept the idea to myself before this since I knew the Appleline had serial not parallel.

Once I get my serial unit in I'll compare the roms to see if there is even some remotely similar code. Then probably just try compu_85's dump on it and hook it up to a terminal. What's the worst that could happen?
If it doesn't work I'll do further comparison of the boards either when compu_85 can get photos of the board inside or whenever I see him in person again.
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